Arunachal Pradesh – the eastern most part of India is also known as the land of dawn-lit mountains. Arunachal Pradesh reveals her mystic beauty and charm and its diverse culture and customs as the first rays of sun falls on its soil. The state is also the largest and the remotest of all the seven sister states with a very thin population. Surrounded by the Eastern Himalayan ranges and the Patkai Hills, Arunachal has a wide variety of flora and fauna. The state has as many as 26 tribes and nearly 100 sub-tribes contributing to its rich cultural heritage.
Arunachal Pradesh truly mesmerizes its visitors with her nature and charm. It is indeed a state that will enrich your soul.
Why visit Arunachal Pradesh:
Arunachal Pradesh surrounded by the mountain ranges is adorned with vast engulfing valleys traversed by the rustic mountain rivers, vast jungle cover, exotic wildlife, unexplored trails and some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries along with incredible cultural variety.
Arunachal Pradesh is a treasure trove for adventure seekers. The state also has a number of unexplored and less travelled trails that are trekkers’ delight. River rafting on the Brahmaputra and Subansiri Rivers can be quite an exhilarating experience.
Call of the Wild:
Mother Nature has been extremely kind to the state and bestowed her best to it. Arunachal has five different types of forests – the alpine forest, tropical, sub-tropical, pine and temperate forests. Almost 60% of the state is covered with evergreen forests interspersed with rivers, streams, gorges and snowy peaks.
The biodiversity is amazing with over 5000 plant species and equally amazing diversity of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the rare places where seven types of wild cats are found – tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, snow leopard, leopard cat, marbled cat and the golden cat. In the higher altitudes, rare species like the takin, goral and red panda are found. Wildlife of Arunachal is varied and fascinating. The important sanctuaries and national parks of the state are Pakhui WLS, Mouling National Park and Namdhapa WLS.
The state is has a rich cultural heritage. There are 26 tribes and nearly 100sub-tribess in the state. The western part of the state has the population of Monpas and the Sherdak Pens and they mainly follow the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. They were the early followers of the animistic Bon traditions. The Tawang Monastery and the 400 year old Samten Yongcha Monastery in Mechuka are the oldest monasteries in India.
The eastern and the central part of the state mainly find influence from the animist traditions. They are the worshippers of the Sun and Moon God, Donyi-Polo and Abo-Tani. The Adis, Akas, Bungnis, Apatanis, Galos, Mishmis, Mijis, Nyishis and Thangsos are the main tribes that inhabitate the lands. Their religious rituals revolve around the various agricultural cycles. All these tribes have their own specialties. They have excellent skill and vast repository of traditional knowledge that has been passed down through folklores, shamans, song and dance rituals.
The third group comprises the Nocte and Wancho tribes of Tirap district. These tribes are quite resilient in nature and they maintain a structured village society where the hereditary village chief still plays a vital role. In Lohit district, the Khampti and the Singpho tribes are settled.
With such natural and innate beauty and multifarious traditions, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most diverse states of the country and a visit to this state is sure to quench all your wanderlust.
Festivals of Arunachal Pradesh:
Losar is the New Year Festival and is the most important one in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. In this festival, the locals clean their homes. The “dirt of the old year” is considered to bring ill health and bad luck. The festival generally falls during the end of February or beginning of March and is celebrated usually for 5 days. During these days of festivities, prayers are offered for good health and prosperity. The people hoist prayer falgs atop their homes, visit the homes of the near and dear ones and light the beautiful butter lamps at their homes.
Reh is celebrated usually in the months of February and July by the Idu-Mishmi tribe to appease the deities who have power over the peace and prosperity of the people. Various rituals, dances and folklores are a part of this festival.
Dree is one of the most important festivals of the Apatani tribe celebrated to appease the deities to avoid famines and bringa good harvest. It involves the sacrifice of fowl and animals dedicated to the gods. During this festival each household prepares rice beer ‘Apong’ and cleans their homes. The festival is mainly connected to the cultivation of rice.
Climate of Arunachal Pradesh:
The climate of the state varies with elevation. The high altitude areas remains cold and dry throughout the year. At mid elevation the climate remains temperate with mild weather almost all through the year. The foothills and the plains have sub-tropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild winters.
Monsoon: May to September
Best Season: October to May
For Indian visitors, Inner Line Permit is required to visit Arunachal Pradesh (Read more about ILP procedure in Northeast India ).